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Work Identity

How does your identity at work impact your relationships at home?  Our work identity and role often fit with our personality type and character.  For example, a surgeon or pilot may be a perfectionist which is rewarded in their job and appreciated by those they serve.  Most people define themselves and find purpose through their work.  For some, work is the primary or even only way they find meaning and fulfillment in life.  Many feel secure, confidant, and comfortable with their work role but uncomfortable outside of their work persona.  Their career gives them a sense of  achievement, admiration, and even adoration that they might not receive elsewhere.  Can work meet all of your needs?

The problem with relying exclusively on work to meet many of your needs is that you may neglect other aspects of life.  Or you may find that your work persona is so comfortable that you bring it home.  Being unemotional and an exceptional problem-solver in your profession is highly valued and respected, yet your spouse values something very different.  We need to recognize that our work and home personas should be different since the relationships in our personal lives should be more intimate and connected.  Do you have a difficult time transitioning from work to home?

Sometimes having some time to decompress upon arriving home from work can help with the transition.  Many people bring work home with them or respond to calls/emails that are work-related which keeps them stuck in the work persona.  Engaging in conversation that is relational oriented and not about work can make it easier to get into the home persona.  Turn off electronics at dinner time or designate a time to shut down all technology to shift the focus to your relationships.  Find value in your home persona role and work on sharing power, control, responsibilities, activities, and emotions with your partner.  Lastly, maintain healthy boundaries with work through delegation, saying no, and being assertive.  Don’t get so busy making a living that you forget to make a life.

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